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How Social Media Influences Human Behavior

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According to Aristotle, human beings are “social animals” and therefore naturally seek the companionship of others as a part of their wellbeing. In this digital universe, the only medium that makes an individual socially paired is the various social media platforms made available to them. These platforms have eased the communication process with on touch sharing of content and by allowing people to comment/like posts and follow each other. Thus, everyone is creating their own virtual society called “social sphere” every second to connect themselves around the globe. The downside of this virtual society is that it has paved its way towards increasing the communication gap between families, for instance telephonic conversations have now decreased exponentially as online interactions are amplified. Social media has pre-dominantly laid its impact on human behavior; it has now started affecting the way we humans communicate, work and build relationships (formal/informal).  This paper primarily focuses to study the dynamic between social media and human behavior; and to develop a suitable model using AI which predicts most influenced users with this virtual interactions and try to provide alternatives.

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Compared to earlier, the connection of human life to the social podium has increased by leaps and bound. This recently created space is user driven; content here is created and discovered at million bits per second and is not owned by the creators of the platform. Being a user driven space, content here has the liberty to breathe and tap to its own feat, and influencing owns a huge impact on people using such platforms. Various platforms have created diverse ecosystems that are intricately weaved into human life making it an integral part of our everyday routine. Social media has paved its way so strong that imagining life without it is inevitable. Constantly being in such ecosystems affect-the human brain and its functionality in various ways out of which most are still being researched by the scholars as a result of Digital media causes mood swings and emotional fluctuations which have a long term severe effect on the behavior. Behavior is a combination of actions, perceptions and emotions. Emotional instability like depression and FOMO (fear of missing out) are some of the known effects of digital platforms. Being constantly around such ecosystems gives humans a dopamine rush, the same chemical in the brain that makes us feel happy, allowing users to stay back longer. Existing perpetually around these ecosystems release dopamine, the same chemical that makes us feel happy, into the brain, ultimately hooking the participants to their screens. Our focus in this research paper is on understanding the long-term effects of such platforms and the behavioral changes caused by their perennial use.

Internet Age has developed a new society for every individual, transforming lives in ways different than ever which includes the way they interact, communicate, present themselves to others, and so on. The possible reasons for such diversified changes in human behavior can be categorized into either positive or negative influence. The problem statement here is to address negative aspects which include loneliness, anxiety, depression, lack of self-worth, bad sleeping habits which is also termed as “Social Media Influences”. Thus there is immediate call for finding solutions to such influences thereby minimize dependency over these social utilities. According to Kandel, the central challenge of science in the 21st century is to understand the human mind in biological terms. Thus we can say that emotional, behavior and social coherence evolves when we are into this virtual society. If we look into some statistics studied by researchers the impact of social media are as follows:-

· 15% have felt anxious when unable to access their social media accounts and this number is significantly higher among 18-29 year olds (37%).

· Almost 2 in 10 (19%) are happy to check social media while eating with family or friends, with 30-39 year olds the biggest culprits (33%).

· 11% have worried their social media footprint might one day come back to bite them, with 30-39 year olds the most likely to feel this way (15%).

[bookmark: _gjdgxs]Digital data consumption has nearly doubled in just over a year with 4G in rise (5G ready to be launched) making internet readily and easily available to masses, understanding the effects of such high consumption is majorly required because its long term effects can change human behavioral patterns which may have an enduring footprints, later affecting lives, economy and well-being of human existence. Understand such patterns could help limit or find better alternatives to manage any unfavorable impact which can also aid in making the coexistence of both the digital sphere and human life coherent.

In this research we intend to carry out investigating social media platforms and analyze behavioral patterns of individuals. We can conduct primary and secondary research. However for primary research we can have following questions that guided the study.

Based on the primary research done of 537 respondents we realized that social media is making its roots strong with the human lives, 98 % people said that they use some kind of social platforms and the most popular being WhatsApp next being Instagram and Facebook, more than 25% people said they spend average of more than 3 hours on such platforms on daily basis. 44.5% believe social media has adverse effects on our lives, 31.7% upload content on their social platforms almost weekly. 49.9% believe that social platforms is having an impact on our behavioral patterns (mental or physical). 22% face issues of anxiety, 26.1% feel stressed and 19.1% face FOMO (fear of missing out). The dopamine rush while using social platforms affect the brain to make it feel happy even the research suggests the same because 52.5% feel happy while using such platforms. 18.2% say they have insomnia because of using social platforms with discomfort and loneliness being faced by 17.5% respondents. 63.9% use social media for passing their time.

Our solution to overcome the social media addiction and its adverse effects is to create a wearable device which uses AI to detect the social media interactions and the total active usage hours of social platforms of the user using this device, using AI understanding the interactions and its effects on behavior becomes easy and efficient also the more the user provides inputs in terms of interactions the more the device will understand users behavioral patterns. The device will also keep asking the user its current mood at least 3 times in a day which will also contribute in providing better solutions to each user.

We asked the respondents about this wearable device in our primary research and 43.9% said yes to using a wearable device which can help them track patterns and find alternatives to the issues the users are currently facing, this response provides us a base to build such a device capable to providing track of usage of social platforms and graphs showing progress in behavioral patterns based on the interaction with the device.

[image: C:UsersRaghuvanshiPicturesScreenshotsScreenshot (74).png][image: C:UsersRaghuvanshiPicturesScreenshotsScreenshot (67).png]When we asked user which type of solutions would be more preferable as alternatives to overcome the constant use of social platforms 62.4% said productive alternatives like reading, meditation, hobbies, etc. 41.7% said a time tracker which provides alerts after a certain limit of hours spend on social media would be a great option of the device and 25.5% said that locking the device for 2 min with over use alert so user can rethink before using social platforms again can also be a useful alternative.

According to our research we have come to a conclusion that social media having its benefits is still causing collateral damage to humans and their behavioral patterns, with constant use of such social chambers is causing various health issues and emotional issues that affect both the physical and mental state on human beings. The above mentioned solution of developing a wearable device with AI can help humans and is also accepted by our respondents and the alternatives provided by the device will be user specific which will be more effective and impactful.

With the creation of such device it can change the way we use social platforms and these digital chambers can successfully thrive in co-existence with benefits to human beings.

 

References:

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317339354_Human_Behavior_and_Social_Networks
  2. https://searchengineland.com/how-social-media-is-influencing-your-behavior-40615
  3. https://qz.com/527008/an-algorithm-can-predict-human-behavior-better-than-humans/
  4. https://forms.gle/QohD1c8NwEsFtuoC6

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